TAMPA — Saddled with a green lineup and some rotten preseason luck, Chamberlain coach Bob Diez knew the ripening of his 2010 club would take time.
It took a week.
On a frigid Friday night, the Chiefs collected nine hits and got a sterling effort from freshman right-hander Amber Fullwood in a 6-0 romp of Gaither (7-3). Chamberlain has followed its 0-2 start with three consecutive wins — two against high-quality foes.
"We do a lot of things here. … We do pick-offs and things, and their heads were swimming and I think it showed in the first two games," said Diez, who had two seniors in his starting lineup Friday.
"But they're getting into it now. They know the game, they know how we play, they know what we do. And I'm just hoping we can get a little better because you've still got to be good in April."
The first seven batters in Chamberlain's order had at least one hit Friday, with senior Stephanie Medina and sophomore Jennie Cook each tallying two. Riverview transfer Bianka Bell had the big blow, a 210-foot home run to left-center on a 3-and-2 pitch after No. 9 hitter Angela Kafalas led off the third with a walk.
Kafalas and Bell drew walks to open the fifth, and eventually scored on a single by freshman catcher Lindsey Hagberg, thrust into a starting role when No. 1 catcher Kasie Hatfield suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason.
Cook and classmate Madison Gonzalez added run-scoring singles to cap the four-run inning. Fullwood, meantime, scattered three hits and allowed no other balls to leave the infield. She struck out only one and walked three, but forced 12 ground ball outs to the left side of the Chiefs infield.
"They made every play," Cowboys coach Al Alcala said.